|Reviews for Love Amongst the Embers|
| Serena Scarlet chapter 1 . 2/18/2012
Is it getting hot in here, or is it just this story? It was carefully written out, and tied effectively with the episode in question. Awesome!
| KJun chapter 1 . 2/11/2012
WTH won first?
| jazzpha chapter 1 . 1/24/2012
This was a really well-done story; I can see why it got the accolades it did! It's always great to see a story that has sex as an element take its time before getting to the payoff, and you did a great job of actually building up emotional resonance between Katara and Zuko throughout the story. Let's start at the top.
I thought it was an inspired choice to have Sokka introduce alcohol into the proceedings of the Ember Island Players' magnum opus: I definitely wouldn't go see something like that sober. That also allowed for some convincing moments of emotional vulnerability later on between Zuko and Katara (which were vital for grounding the rest of the story believably), but at the same time it never came off as contrived. And I mean that in the sense that some authors use alcohol as a plot device to get characters to say all sorts of things they'd otherwise never voice, which feels kind of like cheating in a way. You managed to dodge that by treating alcohol like how it actually works: just amplifying the emotions of the people in question. So yeah, that was very well done on your part.
I have to say, I really, really enjoyed the ebb and flow of Zuko and Katara's conversation here. I feel like a lot of people forget when they write dialogue just how easy it is for a typical conversation to whiplash back and forth between serious and frivolous, but you really nailed that balance here. I've always considered the strength of a relationship to be measurable based on how much mutual teasing you can get away with and still laugh about it in the end, so it was quite nice to see Katara and Zuko trading barbs like they did here.
Of course, then it segued into more serious territory (as conversations, and especially those fueled by a lack of inhibitions, are wont to do)... but you handled that transition with aplomb. The emotional vulnerability on display in the second part of the conversation- particularly from Zuko- struck just the right chord, so kudos to you there. I've always been kind of irked by how little mention Zuko's theft of Song's ostrich-horse seems to get, since to me it represented him at his pettiest, so it was great to see it mentioned here. That Zuko is now carrying heavy enough guilt over that to mention it in the same breath as his betrayal of Iroh demonstrates (with beautiful subtlety) a great moment of character development. Brava. In fact, I think that might be one of my favorite moments in the whole story, if not my outright favorite. But I'm a sucker for subtlety, what can I say?
And then things get really intense when we move into the subject of Mai and Aang, respectively. It was a nice touch having Katara echo Zuko's appraisal of Mai from The Beach unwittingly, and Zuko certainly recognized that himself. Katara's reaction actually struck me as being a lot like Sokka's in The Boiling Rock, but even more flabbergasted thanks to the alcohol's influence. Katara's near-slip up was a nicely humanizing moment, and of course Zuko had to go prying.
I loved how you handled Katara's reluctance to talk about Aang, as it demonstrated both her misgivings from a romantic standpoint but also her concerns for Aang's emotional stability so close to his final showdown with Ozai. Both sides of Katara, as a teenage girl and as a maternal figure before her time, are very nicely juxtaposed here. Well done. I appreciate that Katara wasn't scathingly dismissive of Aang, either, but that her entire reaction was grounded in genuine concern for the well-being of one of her closest friends (and self-admitted adopted family member). I feel like Katara gets turned into a catty, almost vindictive person just to hasten Aang's exit from the picture sometimes, and that always rings false. Once again, your command of characterization remained faultless as you avoided that pitfall.
And of course, a dose of humor comes in to save the day before the tone got thrown too far into serious-town. I laughed out loud at Katara's Sokka moment here, and I really liked how you continued gradually ratcheting up the closeness and tension between the two of them, while not making it too obvious. Again, the openness the two of them have with each other is great... particularly Katara going as far as to admit to one of her chief flaws without getting all defensive about it. And around Zuko, of all people. Character development is a wonderful thing, indeed. Naturally, we end on a penis joke, because penis jokes will never cease to be gut-bustingly hilarious. Anyone who doesn't think so is wrong.
I have to say, I really appreciated you going into the detail that you did describing everything that was in Ursa's swag-tastic private room. Vivid imagery is a crucial part of setting a scene like this, but also the art-history student in me just loved all of the intricacy you painted here. The description of Ursa's hair-comb that Katara winds up wearing was particularly evocative, to the point that I could picture it in my mind's eye quite easily. Being married to the head of an autocractic military dictatorship does have its fringe benefits, I suppose. :D
I enjoyed the quiet moment you gave the two of them with respect to Ursa, as well- she's always been one of the more interesting enigmas of Avatar to me. The Kya parallel was well done, and Zuko's assurance that Ursa and Katara would have gotten along well was quite heartwarming indeed.
Katara's absolution of Zuko's lingering guilt over his past actions was also a great moment to have as the last quiet one before the payoff began in all of its writhing glory. Zuko (as you made apparent earlier in such awesome fashion) clearly isn't about to forgive himself for his past transgressions. The fact that Katara has reached a point where she can not only forgive him, but then go a step further and convince him that he's a good person in spite of everything he's done that he's ashamed of... that's a very powerful moment right there, and a sign of true parity between them. Brava once again, indeed.
And now we come to the part that I really don't have that much to say about, unfortunately. It was really well done, though. So there's that, I guess. They certainly seemed like they enjoyed themselves.
And that one-liner question at the end was a great note to go out on. Oh Zuko, you're so smooth.
All in all, this was a very solid one-shot and a great character study besides. Thank you very much for sharing it with us!
| Azurite chapter 1 . 1/14/2012
I'm with the masses that say "hot hot hot!" I liked the build-up, too; I wasn't sure what it would really end up leading to, but I do love Katara's admission of why she goes so well with Zuko (because he respects her, in a nutshell), as well as the bits of comedy (Unagi, "Would you like another comb?" etc). Only ONE thing disturbed the steaminess of things for me, and that was the description of Zuko's...ah, "dancing dragon" as purplish. Because a guy can be pretty damn swollen, and I know we have the term "blue balled" or "cock blocked," but if anyone's parts are turning PURPLE, that's generally NOT a good sign. Especially on someone as pale as Zuko. That did throw me out of the sexy-times a bit.
But "generally, I like it."
| pisceanchic101 chapter 1 . 1/10/2012
Nice story. Emotionally soft, good display of friendship, then nice memories and sensuality. Nice job. :)
| LapsusAngelus18 chapter 1 . 9/19/2011
This was probably the best lemon I've ever read, and I'll tell you why.
It had a PLOT. Sort of... it had a beautiful story line, and when he gave her Ursa's hair comb, I wanted to cry... this was lovely, and I enjoyed it very much.
| Living and Loving123 chapter 1 . 7/10/2011
Oh that was nice. Erotic. Funny. Realistic. Not too romance but not too outright sex. I would love to see some more oneshots from you. I'm a huge Zutara fan.
| Orlissa chapter 1 . 6/16/2011
Simply loved it :) Cograts! :) Write much more wonderful pieces like this! :)
| StoriesForever chapter 1 . 4/23/2011
| TotallyTeamAlec chapter 1 . 4/3/2011
Absoultely loved this.
| Ivy Ratherbun chapter 1 . 3/16/2011
| Dezaria chapter 1 . 3/13/2011
I like your version of Zuko. Not to say that 'your version' is that distant from canon Zuko, mind you. You just add your own slight twist while maintaining his character.
You also do a great job with expressions and conveying the character's feelings via actions (e.g. - rolling eyes, snorting, shrugging).
I enjoyed your writing very much. :)
| Yusuke Urameshi - Mazoku chapter 1 . 2/23/2011
I love it
| Aelibia chapter 1 . 1/25/2011
| Wildfly chapter 1 . 12/8/2010
"You didn't ever hurt me with your firebending, even when we fought so many times," she said. "You didn't run away from making a painfully hard decision about something, even if you'd done things wrong in the past." She looked into his eyes with studious conviction. "And you let me make my own difficult decision, with Yon Rha, when it came down to it—you didn't tell me what to do, or what to think, or how to feel." She cupped his cheek. "You…you didn't judge me. You just helped me, without another word. That…was the most thoughtful thing that anyone's ever done, for me."
touche! three direct hits! aang's imaginary strawdoll is beaten :)